Reverse Replacement Theology?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

One of those songs I recall singing in church as a youth begins like this:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And His righteousness;

And all these things shall be added unto you,

Hallelu, Hallelujah!

(“Seek ye first”, by Karen Lafferty, 1971)

It is a good song taken directly from Scripture.  This particular chorus is from Matthew 6:33, as rendered in the King James:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these thing shall be added unto you.  (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

Like so many things in my Christian upbringing, I do not recall a succinct explanation of this instruction by Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).  Perhaps it was assumed that we would absorb the meaning in our Sunday School classes or in our own study of the Bible.  Even the Biblical instruction I received in my Christian school never included a full disclosure of what the Kingdom of God is, or a definition of righteousness.  This is not to say that my Christian upbringing was without value; I owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to the teachers, pastors, and counselors who labored lovingly to help me become a disciple of Jesus and to impart their love of the Word of God and the God of the Word.  However, there were some holes in my education, particularly regarding the specifics of certain key terms in my Christian vocabulary.

Righteousness was one of those terms.  Simply put, it is being right according to YHVH’s standards.  Moses provides the details in the Torah.  The rest of the Bible elaborates on that foundation, providing examples of how God’s people succeeded or failed in meeting those standards.  When we get to the Apostolic Writings (New Testament), we see those standards demonstrated by the example of Yeshua, and then we find commentary by the Apostles.  Consequently, even though I cannot recall anyone giving me a definition of righteousness when I was young, it was easy enough to figure out what Yeshua meant when He commanded us to seek it.

But then there is that problematic term, “Kingdom of God”.  What exactly is that?  The Bible tells me about the Kingdom of Israel and about the Kingdom of Heaven, but in my church upbringing it seldom occurred to me that the two might be the same.  And in fact they are the same.  Much Christian teaching has attempted to separate the two, but doing so leaves the Kingdom of God as nothing more than a nebulous, over-spiritualized concept.  The Kingdom of Israel, on the other hand, is a concrete, definable, knowable entity, and all the people of God are part of it.  It matters not whether they are Jewish or of Gentile background.  The terms of the New (or Renewed) Covenant tell us that YHVH has executed this agreement only with the people of Israel and Judah (see Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Hebrews 8:8-11).  Isaiah 56:4-8 explains that foreigners will join themselves to the Lord and come into His Temple, the house of prayer for all nations.  Paul tells us how this will happen, explaining in Romans 11 how non-Jews are “grafted into” the olive tree of Israel along with Jews, and in Ephesians 2 how faith in Messiah Yeshua makes these former Gentiles part of the Commonwealth of Israel.  As if there were any doubt, John records the proclamation of the angel at the end of this age that the kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).  With that kind of Scriptural foundation, no wonder the ancient carol proclaims, “Born is the King of Israel!”

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Comment on Peter Vest’s Review of Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell

BFB150428 Orthodox Messianic Judaism - Mt SinaiRecently Peter Vest, author of Orthodox Messianic Judaism, reviewed my book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell.  His is the first critical review of which I am aware.  Critical, that is, but not scathing.  His perspective provides ample opportunity for discussion and refinement of our understanding, and much room for agreement.  Peter invited me to comment on his review, and I am glad to accept the invitation in hope of advancing a very useful dialogue.  Here is his review.  My comments follow.


My Review and Response to McCarn’s “Give Me a Place Where I May Dwell”

Posted on Orthodox Messianic Judaism, April 19, 2015

by Peter Vest

I just finished reading a book that is attempting to do for the Ephraimite Movement what Theodor Herzl’s book “Der Judenstaat” did for Zionism.  Some of what it says is good…other portions are very troubling indeed.

First, here’s the author, Albert McCarn:

110811 AJM DA Photo

As you can see, he is a well-decorated ex-military officer.  And we can all be very thankful for his many years of service to our country.

Here’s the book which, you will note, displays a proposed national flag for the Ephraimite Nation:

Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell is a meticulously researched book that makes a compelling biblical and contemporary case for building a global consciousness among Hebrew Roots believers—and eventually finding a homeland for these Ephraimites in Israel.

So let’s get into it.

Every book is about a problem and a proposed solution.  This book frames the problem something like this:

You very well could be a descendant of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel which means that you’re living in exile from your homeland (the tribal territories of the Northern Tribes of Israel), deprived of a sense of national community with your people–the Ephraimites, suffering from the onslaught of increasingly hostile, anti-Biblical culture in your host country or even outright oppression.

But there is hope for you to rejoin your lost community and reclaim your birthright to the Northern Tribal Territory of Israel:

You can help restore national consciousness to Ephraim by (1) envisioning the kinship you share with other Ephraimites all over the world and (2) joining many others in a mass exodus from all of their various host countries as they embark on an epic quest to reclaim the “land of the fathers.”

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A Place at the Table

John the Baptist said that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones.  Messiah Yeshua made that possible, opening the way for all people to become part of the Seed of Abraham and  Commonwealth of Israel, regardless of physical descent.  (The Sermon of St John the Baptist, by Pieter  Brueghel the Elder)
John the Baptist said that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones. Messiah Yeshua made that possible, opening the way for all people to become part of the Seed of Abraham and Commonwealth of Israel, regardless of physical descent. (The Sermon of St John the Baptist, by Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

Last week a reader asked a very important question.  It is so important that I want to share it:

A friend introduced me to your blog.  I am a follower of Yeshua, not one of the twelve “lost” tribes but I am Torah pursuant.  I am learning to be part of Abba’s tribe.  In your writing I only hear you speak of Judah and Ephraimites (lost tribes) as being Israel.  Do you see Torah pursuant followers of Yeshua who have no provable family lineage and are from “the nations” as part of the Israel family?  Do they have a place at the table?

This question gets to the very heart of who we are.  It addresses the very thing that the Apostles and the wider Jewish community wrestled with in the First Century.  Specifically, what is the status of these people coming to faith in Yeshua from among the Gentiles?  Are they still Gentiles, or are they Israelites?  And if they are Israelites, are they also to become Jews?  And if they are not Jews, what kind of Israelites are they?

Many writers and teachers have addressed this question, and it is in fact the central question addressed in my recent book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell.  There is still much more to be said as we watch and participate in the unfolding of YHVH’s revelation on the subject.  As a contribution to that dialogue, here is my response:

One of the biggest things Abba is doing right now is restoring to His people the awareness of their identity.  Are you a believer in Yeshua, Son of God and Messiah?  Do you obey His commands and follow Him as His disciple?  Then you are indeed an Israelite regardless of your ethnicity or nationality.  The Apostle Paul made that clear in his letters, particularly in Ephesians 2 and Romans 9,10, and 11.  When he writes about us of the nations being grafted into the olive tree of Israel, and of being part of the commonwealth of Israel, that’s what he means.  The Jewish part of our nation (the House of Judah) have always retained their identity as Israelites and have kept the nation alive.  That is the Father’s plan, and that is why we non-Jewish Israelites do not replace the Jews, but join with them in the nation as Abba rebuilds it.  That is the meaning behind the prophecies of the Dry Bones and Two Sticks of Ezekiel 37, and of the entire book of Hosea, and of Isaiah 11, and of many, many other prophecies.

When it comes to your physical heritage, it should be a great comfort to know that lineage is no obstacle to God (Matthew 3:7-10).  Israel is His Kingdom and His vehicle of salvation for all the nations, so He has always invited people to join that nation from the time He made His first call to our father Abraham.  Today He has revealed the means by which He can accept anyone into the nation, and by which He can accept the nation itself back into fellowship with Him.  That, of course, is what Yeshua accomplished with His atoning sacrifice on our behalf, and that is why He is our King.  The truth is, neither I nor anyone else can prove with beyond any doubt that we are descendants of any of the Tribes.  Even our brethren of Judah are hard pressed to chart their lineage considering the things that have happened to the Jews over the centuries.  We have the choice of looking at all of that as tragedy and as cause for division, or of looking on it as another astonishing revelation of our God’s glory.  He is reconstructing His nation from broken pieces, gathering up the fragments just as Yeshua’s disciples gathered the fragments discarded by those who ate His bread and fish.  In time this polyglot nation of many peoples will become the nation of one people, Israel, just as our King has promised.  In fact, the nations of this earth will be absorbed into Yeshua’s Kingdom of Israel just as the prophets Daniel and John declared (Daniel 2:44-45; Revelation 11:15-18).

In time we will all be numbered among the Tribes.  As others have said, when we enter the New Jerusalem, we will be going through the gates named for each of the Tribes because there is no gate named for the nations.  All we know for now is that Yeshua’s Kingdom of Israel consists of two parts:  the houses of Judah and Ephraim.  If you are not Jewish, but you are a believer in Yeshua, then you are of Ephraim.  Tribal identification is of secondary importance.  Based on the precedent set in Numbers 1 with the first census of Israel, and of the provisions for inheritance explained in Ezekiel 47:21-23, I am inclined to believe that individual choice has a big role in tribal identity.  The first step, though, is identifying with Israel as an Israelite currently living among the nations.  If we can in all sincerity call Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob our fathers, then we are ready to move forward as God’s people.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Purpose of the Holy Spirit

A French farmer sows wheat in his field in the aftermath of World War I, bringing new life where there was death. This timeless action has instructed us for millennia of the work of God in bringing life to and through the kingdom of Israel which He sowed into the world. (Photo reproduced from Forward-March! The Photographic Record of America in the World War and the Post War Social Upheaval, Disabled American Veterans of the World War, Chicago, 1934)
A French farmer sows wheat in his field in the aftermath of World War I, bringing new life where there was death. This timeless action has instructed us for millennia about the work of God in bringing life to and through the kingdom of Israel which He sowed into the world. (Photo reproduced from Forward-March! The Photographic Record of America in the World War and the Post War Social Upheaval, Disabled American Veterans of the World War, Chicago, 1934)

Not that long ago, the men’s Bible study I am blessed to attend spent several months going through the Gospel of Mark.  One morning we looked in depth at the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-25).  Our leader astutely pointed out the words of Yeshua:  “Do you not understand this parable?  How will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13 NASB)  His conclusion, with which I agree, is that this parable is the key to understanding all of Yeshua’s parables, and thus everything He taught.  Yet for all our analysis of this parable over the centuries, it seems that we may have missed something very important.  What we have been missing dawned on me as we discussed Mark 4 on that day, and as we parted company I asked, “What if this parable is about the restoration of the entire Kingdom of Israel?”

We were not able to investigate that question at that time, but I have pondered it ever since.  The applicability of the Parable of the Sower to the Lost Tribes of Israel comes into focus when we consider the prophecy of Hosea.  We learn in Hosea’s first chapter that he speaks to the House of Israel, the Northern Kingdom which became the Lost Tribes.  Because of their unfaithfulness to YHVH, He judged them by removing them from His Presence and scattering them into the nations.  Yet He promised to bring them back to the Land as His people once again, as He said through Hosea:

 “It will come about in that day that I will respond,” declares the LORD.  “I will respond to the heavens, and they will respond to the earth, and the earth will respond to the grain, to the new wine and to the oil, and they will respond to Jezreel [“God sows”].  I will sow her [Israel] for Myself in the land.  I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, and I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people!’  And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”  (Hosea 2:21-23 NASB, emphasis added)

Ephraim [Israel] is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, but I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself.  Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.  (Hosea 10:11-12 NASB)

There is much to investigate regarding this connection of the restoration of Israel with the Parable of the Sower.  My friend Ken Rank of United2Restore has made a good start by looking at the role of the Holy Spirit in this process.  His article is reproduced here from a recent post on Facebook.

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The Barking Fox on Hebrew Nation Radio

BFB150206 The Hebrew Nation Morning ShowIt is always interesting to see how the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) makes connections to achieve the Father’s purposes.  Soon after The Barking Fox announced publication of our new book, Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell, Gene Porter of Hebrew Nation Radio asked if he could interview me on the Thursday morning broadcast he co-hosts with Bonnie Harvey.  It just so happened that they had an opening on February 5, and so I had the great pleasure and honor of talking with them for an hour.  During the second hour of the broadcast, Gene, Bonnie, and Don Wyant, co-founder of Hebrew Nation Radio, launched into a round-table discussion on the subject of the Whole House of Israel.  Their discussion provides an excellent ground-level introduction to the subject for those who are unfamiliar with this rapidly accelerating move of the Lord (see Jeremiah 16:14-21).  To hear the entire broadcast of The Hebrew Nation Morning Show, please click here:

Author of Brand New Two House Book Guests on Hebrew Nation Radio Thursday Morning Show

Give Me A Place Where I May Dwell is now available in paperback and in Kindle versions at the following links:

To purchase copies in print, please click here.

To purchase the Kindle version, please click here.


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2015.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.